Planning for Legal Technology in a Recession (Or Worse) – Revisited

Back in January, I took a fresh look at some of my earlier thinking on what to do in connection with legal technology planning in bad economic times. My 2008 legal tech trends article had “dancing with a recession” as one of the eight trends.
But I never imagined what we’ve seen over the last week or so.
Difficult times make for difficult decisions. It’s hard to wrap your brain around the current crisis. While financial concerns are certainly taking center stage, it makes sense to devote some attention to technology to make good decisions about how you go forward and, as they say, what to leave in and what to leave out.
Here’s the core of my earlier post. It’s a good starting point.

The key: being willing to think of technology in terms of investment.
I like to think of technology investing as a form of portfolio investing. Much as we rebalance our investment portfolios in changing economic conditions, the same principles apply to technology investment. . . . The interesting conclusion in modern portfolio theory is that the most prudent approach, over the long term, includes a reasonable proportion of high-risk, high-return investments, regardless of the investment climate. In a slow economy, sticking with a diversified approach is mandatory.
Investing in technology requires a similar portfolio approach.
Here are six areas to consider carefully when developing your technology portfolio:
1. Technology That Cuts Costs
2. Technology That Makes You Indispensable to Your Clients
3. Technology That Helps You Get New Clients
4. Technology That Helps You Move into New Practice Areas (or Creates Profitable Niche Practices)
5. Technology That Helps You Recruit and Retain Great People
6. Technology That Makes You Saner
The article concluded with these thoughts:
In a slow economy, you need to make smart choices about technology. Focusing hard on return on investment is important, but not if you are using that as an excuse to shut down technology investment. A better approach is to get a lot of options on the table and consider their likely risk and potential return. Then prudently pick a diverse portfolio of technology investment projects and step boldly forward. Not all of them may work, but the diversification will, and you’ll find yourself well positioned for the changes to come, both in the economy and the practice of law.

For another set of useful tips about how to use technology to save money, see John Jantsch: The Telephone Doesn’t Use Any Gas – Benefits of Online Meeting Tools.
You can also follow the microblog companion to this blog at @dkennedyblog on Twitter.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Now Available! The Lawyer’s Guide to Collaboration Tools and Technologies: Smart Ways to Work Together, by Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell. Visit the companion website for the book at LawyersGuidetoCollaboration.com.
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Comments

  1. says

    Great points Dennis, and an excellent call with your January advice.
    I think advice like this should apply to technology investments regardless of the state of the economy…but of course our tendency is to go to extremes. Spending liberally when times are good, and probably cutting back too much when times are tight.